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Cablegate: Scenesetter for February 17-21 Codel Price Visit

VZCZCXRO8573
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0218/01 0350828
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 040828Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7880
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4694
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1958
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1565
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 3654
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0025
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1481
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 2298
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0562
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 000218

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP
H FOR DRICH
NSC FOR EPHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV OVIP ID
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR FEBRUARY 17-21 CODEL PRICE VISIT


JAKARTA 00000218 001.2 OF 003


1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified -- Please
handle accordingly.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY. Embassy Jakarta welcomes you to
Indonesia, one of the world's most dramatic democratic
success stories. Your visit comes on the heels of former
president Suharto's passing, an event which serves as a
reminder of the tremendous progress Indonesia has made in the
last decade. President Yudhoyono has moved aggressively to
implement a reform agenda during his three years in office.
In Aceh, you will start your visit where he registered the
hallmark accomplishment of his tenure thus far: the Aceh
Peace Agreement. The parliament, while still experiencing
growing pains, has increasingly moved to assert itself in
domestic affairs and foreign policy. Mission works closely
with this nascent legislative body. The Indonesian military
is also growing and evolving in the post-Suharto era. While
there is work to be done on accountability, defense
cooperation remains one of the lynchpins to our effort to
build a long-term partnership here in the world's largest
Muslim-majority country. END SUMMARY.

FULL SPEED AHEAD FOR DEMOCRACY

3. (SBU) The Indonesian political system has made dramatic
strides towards greater democracy and human rights, and the
space for democratic politics that first opened almost ten
years ago continues to expand. There is a vigorous civil
society and a robust, independent press. Strong political
will supports the improvement of Indonesia's human rights
protections. The day after Suharto was buried--a symbolic
end of a repressive era--the National Commission on Human
Rights announced it would continue to investigate Suharto for
alleged past atrocities. In January, the Supreme Court
sentenced the murderer of human rights martyr Munir to 20
years and police investigations into the case continue.

4. (SBU) The 2009 presidential elections will mark the fourth
peaceful transition of power since the birth of Indonesian
democracy in 1999. Meanwhile, as decentralization continues
to take root, Indonesia has successfully contested over 350
local elections in five years. Many of these elections have
taken place without incident in the former conflict areas of
Ambon, Central Sulawesi, Papua and Aceh.

USG HELPING ACEH

5. (SBU) On August 15, 2005, the Aceh Peace agreement was
signed, bringing to a close 29 years of violent conflict.
Though the destruction and devastation of the December 2004
tsunami ultimately helped lay the groundwork for the

SIPDIS
agreement, post tsunami recovery has sometimes overshadowed
the need for post conflict recovery. In 2006, Aceh province
held its first direct election for Governor and the Acehnese
resoundingly elected former commander of the rebel Free Aceh
Movement (GAM) Irwandi Yusuf.

6. (SBU) The United States responded quickly to the 2004
tsunami disaster. In addition to the assistance the U.S.

SIPDIS
military provided immediately in the tsunami's wake, Congress
authorized $400 million in humanitarian and long-term
reconstruction. American citizens also made a tremendous
impact, donating an estimated $1.8 billion to tsunami
reconstruction efforts throughout the region. USAID has
become one of the premier donors in Aceh, with a program that
supports reconstruction of the 96-mile West Coast Highway,
construction of 900 new homes, the rehabilitation of 1600
hectares of coastal forest, and support to a farming
cooperative with over 5000 members. USAID has played a
leadership role in supporting the Aceh peace process, the
reintegration of former combatants, and the 2006 elections.


PRESIDENT YUDHOYONO: A COMMITTED REFORMER

7. (SBU) President Yudhoyono (SBY) truly understands and

JAKARTA 00000218 002.2 OF 003


believes in a democratic future for his country. SBY has
placed reformers in key economic ministries, the military and
the police, and has prosecuted major government and corporate
thieves. In October 2005, he cut long-standing fuel
subsidies despite the expected political blowback, thereby
restoring fiscal discipline in the public sector and freeing
up resources for education and social welfare programs.
Yudhoyono signed a landmark law to fight human trafficking in
April 2007 and has pushed an aggressive investigation into
the murder of human rights activist Munir. The murderer was
sentenced to 20 years in prison and police are investigating
possible conspiracies. Internationally, he consistently
espouses a policy of moderation and cooperation that rejects
terrorism and nuclear proliferation and calls on countries to
help resolve problems through collaboration and
communication. He has sent peacekeepers to Lebanon, hosted a
Sunni-Shi'a dialogue to promote reconciliation in Iraq and
has been at the forefront of efforts to improve relations
between the Islamic world and the West.

8. (SBU) While President Yudhoyono remains committed to
further reforms, he has been constrained by the need to
establish consensus within his multi-party cabinet, by a
recalcitrant bureaucracy and by a parliament that often
prefers scoring political points to tackling complex issues
such as investment climate and labor reforms. The
President's focus has also been diluted by a steady stream of
natural and man-made disasters, including tsunamis,
earthquakes, plane crashes, the East Java mudflow, and rising
commodity prices. As the 2009 election approaches, the
President will become increasingly occupied with political
survival, further complicating reform efforts until a
possible second term.

THE DPR STEPS UP ITS GAME

9. (SBU) Indonesia's Parliament (the DPR) has recently
started to assert itself more forcefully in its dealings with
the President, a development with mixed implications for U.S.
interests. In 2007, the DPR twice attempted to invoke a
parliamentary procedure known as interpellation to force the
President to personally explain his policies to its members.
In the first instance, regarding Indonesia's support for UNSC
1747 on Iran, the demand constituted little more than
grandstanding in the run-up to the 2009 presidential
elections, and ultimately failed. Nonetheless, it had the
effect of complicating any future efforts to enlist GOI
support for UNSC Iran sanctions. In the second instance,
involving a man-made mudflow disaster in East Java that
displaced tens of thousands of people, the DPR's pyrotechnics
helped to focus the government's attention on a critical
issue that had been languishing.

USAID HELPS STRENGTHEN THE DPR

10. (SBU) While forceful in its political advocacy, the DPR
remains weak in its ability to develop legislation and
implement sound policy and continues to suffer from negative
public perceptions. Speaker Laksono, although supportive of
USG assistance to the DPR, has yet to make institutional
reform a top priority. USAID supports technical assistance
and training to strengthen the skills of parliamentarians and
staff, as well as provide institutional support to the DPR
and other national and regional lawmaking bodies. Activities
include promoting constituency and media outreach, developing
the capacity to draft and analyze operational budgets, and
strengthening legal and legislative drafting capacity.
Current multi-year assistance totals approximately $3 million
and is carried out through two main programs: the National
Legislative Strengthening Program (NLSP), which supports the
research, analysis, budget development and legislative
drafting capacity of the DPR; and the Democratic Reform
Support Program (DRSP), which provides support to the DPR and
the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) to strengthen
their legislative authority and political processes.


JAKARTA 00000218 003.2 OF 003


MILITARY REFORM SLOWS

11. (SBU) The Indonesian armed forces (TNI) saw fundamental
change in the early years of reform but the momentum has
slowed. The TNI's long history of involvement in government
in Indonesia disappeared by 2004 and the military was
subordinated to civilian oversight in the form of the
President and, less directly, the Department of Defense.
U.S. assistance and expertise is reforming Indonesia's
defense management to give the Defense Minister the same
oversight over Indonesian military forces that the U.S.
Secretary of Defense has over ours. Moreover, all TNI

SIPDIS
members now receive human rights training. Neither the
government nor the TNI has been prepared to pursue
accountability for alleged human rights violations which
occurred during the Suharto era, or the more recent excesses
in Aceh and East Timor. Nevertheless, after marines shot and
killed four protesters in a land dispute in East Java last
year, the TNI's response was constructive and constituted an
improvement relative to similar incidents in the past.

12. (SBU) A second area of potential TNI reform, the transfer
of TNI businesses, is now in the hands of a special civilian
team appointed by the president. Indonesian defense
officials have stated a willingness to divest TNI-owned
businesses, but emphasize that increases in the state defense
budget need to make up the difference.

13. (SBU) Our 12-year military embargo resulted in a "lost
generation" of Indonesian military personnel without any
meaningful exposure to the United States. President
Yudhoyono cites the restoration of full military ties as one
of the primary achievements of his administration and would
likely be embarrassed by any suggestion that the United
States has stepped back in that relationship. We encourage
senior USG visitors to stress to the GOI the need for
accountability and further reform, but also to welcome the
significant changes that have occurred and support further
engagement. Indonesia is an important strategic partner in
the region, and we can effect change far more effectively by
engaging with Indonesia's security forces than by staying at
a distance.

BUILDING THE FOUNDATION FOR A LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP

14. (SBU) Indonesia was recently named the freest country in
Southeast Asia" by the Freedom House Index, one of the many
indicators of Indonesia's progress in the last decade. While
our relations have been cordial throughout Indonesia's
democratic transition, the lingering spectrum of restrictions
on our military-to-military relationship has focused the
spotlight on Indonesia's past, rather than on the astonishing
success story here. The United States currently has a
remarkable opportunity to help this country of over 200
million people secure a bright future, while building the
foundation for a long-term partnership in a strategic corner
of the world.

HUME

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